Monitoring changes in search engine algorithms often becomes an obsession for marketers. For example, Google tests thousands of ideas a year. Attempting to keep track of all the innovations can make the optimizer shy away from each shadow and take sedatives.
However, some of the innovations of the largest search engine in the world really require close attention of search marketers and changes in the content-marketing strategy. In this article you will find information about the most likely changes in the appearance and functionality of the SERP Google by the end of 2014. You will also understand how to prepare for these changes and use them in the interests of the business.
The Google search engine often announces important changes after the fact. However, even the most attentive marketers do not always notice innovations. For example, users learned about the Hummingbird algorithm a month after its launch.
Therefore, the experts of the American marketing company MOZ use special tools and information sources to record the introduction of new search technologies and predict their impact on Internet marketing. The first of these tools is the MozCast service. This service measures intraday changes in search rankings for 1000 key entries.
One of the systems of the MozCast service is called Feature Alert. It identifies functional changes to the SERP before they are announced. To do this, the system monitors the source code of Google and records the appearance of new blocks in it. Having received a warning about the appearance of a new block in the code, the marketer can expect a change in the appearance of the SERP and the appearance of new functional blocks of the organic issue page.
Since April 2012, Feature Alert has fixed the appearance of 2441 new units in the source code. At the same time, Google reported conducting 7018 experiments with the SERP only in 2012. Less than 10% of these experiments led to the introduction of new features. Thus, Feature Alert notices all changes, and not all fixed innovations are finally approved. However, this system allows you to monitor the intentions of Google and predict the emergence of new features. For example, if the same block appears and disappears in the source code several times, it can be assumed that Google thoroughly tests it, modifies it and prepares it for launch.
MOZ experts use the functionality of Google’s mobile page as the second important source of information. The world's largest search engine pays great attention to mobile traffic. Therefore, most of the serious changes in the algorithm and functionality of the SERP are first of all tested on a mobile search, and then launched in a search for desktops.
Google is desperately trying to make the search convenient for owners of smartphones, tablets, mobile watches, glasses and other gadgets of the future. The “search engine” is protected from a possible drop in advertising revenue associated with the gradual migration of users from stationary PCs to mobile devices.
Using the MozCast service and monitoring mobile searches, MOZ experts figured out how the issue page will change by the end of 2014. Marketers need to prepare for the six important innovations, as discussed below.
1. Update Knowledge Graph
Since its launch, the semantic technology of Knowledge Graph has relied on information from several sources, for example, Wikipedia, Freebase, and the World Fact Book of the CIA. The problem is that even the possibilities of online encyclopedias are limited. Therefore, Knowledge Graph works correctly only for queries, information about which is presented in these sources and is structured.
To increase the effectiveness of Knowledge Graph, Google must extract information from its own database of indexed resources. Simply put, the “search engine” should use high-quality content published on various resources to form answers.
In recent months, MOZ experts have noted the periodic appearance of this version of the Knowledge Graph:
Notice the new SERP In context section, which provides links to informational materials on the subject of the search. The search engine includes links to third-party resources in the issuance of the Knowledge Graph. This means that your website will soon be able to compete successfully with Wikipedia and enter into the distribution of Knowledge Graph.
Google uses Knowledge Graph to generate ready-made answers on the issue page. Usually they are grayed out and placed above the results of organic delivery. According to MOZ, the search engine is already using data from third-party resources to form ready-made answers, and not only from Wikipedia or the Question and Answer service. Evidence on illustrations (for convenience translated into Russian):
These changes in the Knowledge Graph give tremendous advantages to brands publishing expert-level content. A business gets the opportunity to occupy the most prominent positions on the issuance page for a particular request absolutely free.
2. New ad format
According to MOZ and other sources, Google is actively testing the new format of ad units on the issue page. The test version looks like this:
It seems that in the near future, Google will refuse to highlight ads in color. In addition, advertising and natural links will look exactly the same. The only distinguishing mark of paid results will be a small yellow rectangle with the inscription "Ad".
It should be noted that this ad format is already implemented in mobile search. In the mobile SERP, ads are marked only with a yellow box labeled "Advertising".
3. Paid results are mixed with organic
The likelihood of this change remains low, but Google is exploring this possibility. Here is what can happen:
Please note that the illustration is not a screenshot, but a hypothetical SERP model. If Google really goes beyond tests and introduces this innovation, many brands will suffer. First of all, the change will affect companies promoting their resources on positions.
4. Search statistics will disappear.
Ordinary users will not even notice this change. However, search marketers will face an additional headache. What is this about? Pay attention to the following screenshot:
At first glance, there are no changes on the issue page. However, if you take a closer look, you can see the absence of search statistics at the top of the SERP (see illustration).
This data is important for SEO experts planning search marketing companies. By the way, in the mobile search statistics disappeared long ago, as it took up too much space on the screens of smartphones and tablets. If you are a search engine marketer, look for alternative statistics collection tools in advance, as Google is more likely to approve this change.
5. Preferences for first place in organic produce
Take a look at the results of the organic issue for the "coalition" request again:
The resource, which ranks first in the organic issue, received additional preferences in the form of relevant links to related pages. Not only Wikipedia, but also a commercial resource can receive such grace (see illustration).
The first numbers in the mobile issue also receive preferences in the form of additional links to related pages. The updated mobile SERP looks like this:
As can be seen in the illustration, the resource, which occupies the first place in the mobile issue, has taken the whole screen. Try to use this if your audience often uses mobile gadgets.
6. SERP will turn into one information card
The Google Now service draws up the results of the issuance in the format of information cards (see illustration).
According to MOZ, the world's largest search engine wants to use similar information cards to form a SERP on all mobile and stationary devices. The likelihood of introducing this change remains low. However, if Google decides to take this step, the issue page for desktop users will change the most.
How will the SERP change in 2014 ...
MOZ experts have proposed two options "SERP future". The first will be implemented if Google decides to completely form the SERP of information cards. In this case, the issue page will look like this:
As seen in the illustration, the SERP is formed by information cards. No search statistics, with personalized search results on the right side of the page.
The second SERP option will dominate if Google makes Knowledge Graph the main tool for presenting search results. In this case, the issue page will look like this:
As can be seen in the image, the results of organic issuing mixed with advertising links. On the right side of the screen, the user sees Knowledge Graph with links to third-party resources.
According to MOZ, in 2014, Google is likely to increase the role of the Knowledge Graph and will form the SERP of information cards.
... and how to prepare for it
In order to use the described changes in the interests of business, brands must create valuable and expert content worthy of inclusion in the results of the Knowledge Graph. In addition, companies need to strive to take the first positions in the issuance of vital requests and the most important search keys. This will help businesses dominate the issue page.